TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, Volume IV, number II, 2017
Special issue: The Issue of Blackness
Guest editors: Treva C. Ellison, Kai M. Green, Matt Richardson, C. Riley Snorton
issue /ˈiSHo͞o/: the action of supplying or distributing an item for use, sale, or official purposes; to come, go, or flow out from.
This special issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, titled “The Issue of Blackness,” explores and questions the issuance of Blackness to transgender identity, politics, and transgender studies and proceeds from the premise that the position of Blackness in relation to the project of universality is both overseen and unknown. Black scholars like Saidiya Hartman have argued that Blackness functions as a fungible site of accumulation in relation to the projects of knowing, representation, and self-craft. Blackness is overseen in the sense that the literal and figurative capture of Blackness is a source of value for social and political subjectification and a mechanism of valorization for institutions and institutionalized knowledge. However, the phenomenology of Black life and Black peoples’ multiple lived experiences are routinely disavowed via the same circuits and institutions of power, knowledge production, and politics that make claims on and about Blackness. Additionally, as scholars like Denise Ferriera da Silva, Clyde Woods, Katherine McKittrick, and George Lipsitz have written, the hegemonic socio-spatial relationships and imaginaries that constitute life as we know it (including academic disciplinarity) often render Black people and a Black sense of place as perpetually out of place, un-geographic, and unknown. We are interested in how this dual operation of Blackness across space and time: overseen and unknown, functions in relation to constructions and articulations of transgender identity, transgender politics, and the field of Transgender Studies.
As a growing field of inquiry, transgender studies provides a fertile ground to analyze the instability, variation, and re-construction of gender and gender normativity across space and time. In this special issue, we are interested in thinking about how an attention to Blackness, Black people, and Black Studies opens up trans as an analytic and puts pressure on gender as a stable social category. We hope that this issue contributes to ongoing thought and action that deploys trans as a heuristic that is attentive to transgender embodiment, but that diverges from normalizing tendencies of subjectification.
We seek essays, poems, and artwork that contend with how and where transgender and Black meet, contradict, and interface as social and political categories of difference, sites of scholarly inquiry, and categories of political praxis. We are interested in hearing from a broad spectrum of scholars, artists, thinkers and organizers who consider Blackness as it circulates diasporically. We wish to engage across many fields of study such as, but not limited to, cultural studies, ethnic studies, American studies, English, history, geography, anthropology, and sociology. We seek to publish numerous shorter pieces (1000-2500 words) to represent the diversity of practices and problematics, and welcome original research articles as well as theory, reports, manifestos, opinion pieces, reviews, interviews, and creative/artistic productions rooted in the themes and goals of the issue. While the language of publication will be English, we accept submissions in any language and will work with authors to translate submitted work. Below are some questions to consider, but we are open to others:
How has Blackness been a source of value and a site of valorization for transgender politics and identity?
How has transgender studies theorized or contended with Blackness?
What do theories of Blackness and anti-Blackness offer to the field of transgender studies and to transgender political praxis?
What political, material, and intellectual conditions give rise to Black trans* futures?
How do Blackness and the experiences of Black people throughout the African diaspora recast or redefine trans studies, in matters of history, theory, politics, and culture?
How does a trans* as a heuristic and / or mode of analysis align with, or conflict with Black feminism’s challenge to normative constructions of womanhood?
How do theories of Blackness as well as Black people’s lived experience help us locate the relationship between the trans* transgender and the trans* in transnational?
Through what means and in which contexts do Black and transgender get rendered as oppositional categories?
How has the law been a medium through which the relationship between Blackness and transgender identity and politics been posited, worked out and / or contested?
How do the lived experiences, activism, intellectual work, and expressive knowledge of Black transgender and gender non-conforming people put pressure on dominant articulations of trans identity, trans politics and notions of coalition and solidarity?
How do theoretical insights grounded in Blackness, such as Fred Moten’s notion of the break or Hortense Spillers’ conception of the body versus the flesh, help us to understand the polyvalent senses of trans?
How have technological developments in media been employed to posit relationships between Black and trans? How has the category of “the human” been examined in studies of animality, Blackness and trans--ness?
How do discussions of temporality work in transgender studies and Black studies? Is there a trans sense of time? Does it collide, conflict contradict or support a Black sense of time?
Please send complete submissions by June 1, 2016. (Note that we cannot accept submissions earlier than January 15, 2016.) To submit a manuscript, please visit http://www.editorialmanager.com/tsq. If this is your first time using Editorial Manager, please register first, then proceed with submitting your manuscript. If you have any difficulties with the process, contact the journal at email@example.com. All manuscripts must be double-spaced, including quotations and endnotes, and blinded throughout. You must also submit an abstract, keywords, and biographical note at the time of initial submission. Please visit the editorial office's website for a detailed style guide. Questions for the editors of this issue may be addressed to Treva C. Ellison (firstname.lastname@example.org), Kai M. Green (email@example.com), Matt Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org), and C. Riley Snorton (email@example.com).
TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly is a new journal, edited by Paisley Currah and Susan Stryker published by Duke University Press. TSQ aims to be the journal of record for the interdisciplinary field of transgender studies and to promote the widest possible range of perspectives on transgender phenomena broadly defined. Every issue of TSQ will be a specially themed issue that also contains regularly recurring features such as reviews, interviews, and opinion pieces. To learn more about the journal and see calls for papers for other special issues, visithttp://lgbt.arizona.edu/transgender-studies-quarterly. For information about subscriptions, visit http://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php….
Give me a day
I had thought
To stay indoors
Washing my dishes
I am happy
To be inside
This, I think,
Just this choosing
A beautiful day
Is spent." - Alice Walker
Attackers in Paris and Mali shouted the phrase "Allahu akbar" before firing shots and killing people. "Allahu akbar" translates simply to "God is greater." Muslims explain how misuse of the phrase has affected their lives in the U.S.
They discuss the media sensationalism, religious extremism, Donald Trump and fascism, and their cultural adjustments because of the backlash.
On what it means ...
"It is perhaps the most defining term in Islam, which reminds those who use this term that they would give up their egos, that they would not use their political, cultural, social, ethnic and geographic interests to promote their own ideas." — ASLAM ABDULLAH
On its misuse ...
"One phrase itself doesn’t explain the whole heart of Islam. Islam does not tell people to go and kill." — RAHMAT PHYAKUL
On recent terrorist attacks ...
"And when terrorists use this 'Allahu akbar,' they are hijacking this term, they’re hijacking religion, hijacking God." — ASLAM ABDULLAH
On the role of the media ...
"The media has become a vehicle for religious extremism. Because the lens of extremism is what dominates the definition of religion, especially when it comes to Islam. ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram want nothing more than for us here in the West to believe that Islam has no place in the West, that Islam is alien to the West." — SALAM AL-MARAYATI
On the backlash against Muslims ...
"My hijab, I have to do the adjustment, also because I don’t want people to attack me. It’s sad but it’s a reality." — HEDIANA NIES HADI
"We have to achieve political integration so that we are countering the hatred from people like Donald Trump that wants to see more waterboarding, more surveillance, national registration. Those are fascist ideas." — SALAM AL-MARAYATI
On fear of flying ...
"Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar. There’s a little prayer that Muslims say when they travel. Now I have to worry that if the person sitting next to me and hears this under my breath that now all of a sudden, we have to turn around the plane and land or everyone’s going to freak out." — MARC MANLEY
Contact Lisa Biagiotti at firstname.lastname@example.org or @lisabiagiotti on Twitter.
Contact Irfan Khan at email@example.com or @latfoto on Twitter.
Emergence Community Arts Collective (ECAC)
733 Euclid Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
This Sunday December 6th, 2015 from 2pm - 5pm, Brave Soul Collective (BSC) marks its nine year anniversary and presents its final production of 2015 with “ More Plot Twists...” an afternoon of entertainment, discussion, healing and celebration.
Much like the original production "Plot Twists" - (which was presented as part of this year's DC Black Theatre Festival in June at The Undercroft Theater), “More Plot Twists…” touches on a host of hot button issues, including: relationships, sex, gender identity, racism, family, and religion - all within the scope of life “&…the unknown”.
The dynamic cast of "More Plot Twists..." includes performances by; Thembi Duncan, Kandace Foreman, Josette Marina Murray, Jared Shamberger, & BSC Founder Monte J. Wolfe. The exciting afternoon of theatre (which will also include an interactive workshop and discussion with the artists and the audience) features a combination of dramatic & comedic monologues, short scenes and staged readings written & directed by playwrights – Stanley Z Freeman, Josette Marina Murray, Jared Shamberger, and Alan Sharpe.
Doors will open to the public at 2pm, and the performance segment of the program will begin at 3pm, to be followed by the workshop/discussion with the cast & audience. We'll finish off with some exciting news for 2016, and a great big celebration of 9 years of "Breaking The Silence, Building Bridges, and Bringin Light 2 The Truth"!
Emergence Community Arts Collective (ECA Collective) - is located at 733 Euclid Street NW - right near Howard University's School of Business (off Georgia Avenue). ECA Collective is easily accessible by metro at the Shaw Howard & U Street Cardozo Metro Stations on the Green & Yellow Lines.
Tickets are now available online ($10) and can be purchased by visiting
For more info, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW TO SUPPORT BSC FROM NEAR OR FAR
IF YOU'RE NOT IN THE DC METRO AREA OR CANNOT ATTEND BUT STILL WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT US, YOU CAN DO SO THROUGH MAKING A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE CONTRIBUTION BY VISITING: http://bit.ly/SUPPORTBSC
We hope to have you join us if you're in the DC Metro area & if not please spread the word to all of your friends, family & colleagues who are in the DC Metro area.
. "As another has well said, to handicap a student by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless is the worst sort of lynching." -- Carter G. Woodson
“Colorful demonstrations and weekend marches are vital but alone are not powerful enough to stop wars. Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe. ” ― Arundhati Roy
"It's fascinating that those who put the fear of God in others are often those who live with the most fear -- of others, of difference. Those who demand that you conform the most to how they live are the ones who are the most scared and intimidated by life." -- Grace Jones
“There are only two kinds of people who can drain your energy: those you love, and those you fear. In both instances it is you who let them in. They did not force their way into your aura, or pry their way into your reality experience.” ― Anthon St. Maarten
“Even if there are these times that this life will just shit you, run over you or when this life just doesn't make sense in a minute. The ride goes on. This life will continue.” ― Happy Positivity Blankly Ahead
Predawn (5:30am) at Ocean Beach, S.F.
Ocean Beach: The Great Highway @Fulton Street.
By bus: Take the 5 Fulton all the way out to the beach.
The term “Maafa” is Kiswahili for “terrible occurrence” or “reoccurring disaster” and has been used to describe the European slave trade or the Middle Passage. The term “Maafa” also references the Black Holocaust historically and presently. In the San Francisco Bay Area, October is Maafa Awareness Month–it is a time to reflect on the legacy of slavery: victims and beneficiaries in the short and long term and look at ways to mend, repair and heal the damage to Pan African descendants of the enslaved and their New Afrikan societies. The toll has been tremendous: psychological, economic, social, physical, emotional and spiritual.
The Maafa ritual, October 11, 2015, is an honoring of our past and a prayer for our future. All black people are invited to come and share in this time of remembrance. We ask for this one event, those who support the well-being of black people respect our desires about the commemoration ceremony and mourning ritual.
Attendees are encouraged to wear white, to dress warmly, bring their children, flowers for the ceremony, vegan or vegetarian breakfast items to share afterwards, (along with dishes to serve them on), hot beverages and cups, drums, chekeres, rattles, and positive energy. Fire wood is useful for the bonfires Sunday morning. The organizers will not be responsible for security if attendees decide to spend the night.
If anyone needs a ride or can pick someone up please call (641) 715-3900 ext. 36800#. All donations can be made out to Wanda Sabir, Co-founder and CEO. Mail to: P.O. Box 30756, Oakland, CA 94604. Check our blog and calendar (www.maafasfbayarea.com)
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
(641) 715-3900 ext. 36800# email@example.com, or visit www.maafasfbayarea.com
"Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end." -- 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 The Message (MSG)
“You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist?" And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.” ― Junot Díaz
"I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
The filings from my fingernails are
On a trip north
I caught a cold and blew
My nose giving oil to the Arab world
I am so hip even my errors are correct
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off
The earth as I went
The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid
Across three continents" -- Nikki Giovanni
“A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.” ― George Bernard Shaw
“You used to be able to tell the difference between hipsters and homeless people. Now, it's between hipsters and retards. I mean, either that guy in the corner in orange safety pants holding a protest sign and wearing a top hat is mentally disabled or he is the coolest fucking guy you will ever know.” ― Chuck Klosterman
“Don't you find it odd," she continued, "that when you're a kid, everyone, all the world, encourages you to follow your dreams. But when you're older, somehow they act offended if you even try.” ― Ethan Hawke
“Love springs from the inside. It is the immortal surge of passion, excitement, energy, power, strength, prosperity, recognition, respect, desire, determination, enthusiasm, confidence, courage, and vitality, that nourishes, extends and protects. It possesses an external objective - life.” ― Ogwo David Emenike
“Music has the power to stop time. When I listen to songs, I'm transported back to the moment of their birth, which is sometimes even before the moment of my birth. Old songs, rock or soul or blues, still connect with me because the human emotions in them, whether jealousy or rage or hope, are recognizably similar to the emotions that I'm feeling now. But I'm feeling all of them, all the time, and so the songs act like a chemical process that isolates certain feelings at certain times: maybe one song helps illuminate the jubilation and one helps illuminate the sorrow and one helps illuminate the resignation. Music has the power to stop time. But music also keeps time.” ― Questlove
Black Voices Rising: A community conversation + panel discussion with social justice organizers re: the crucial "elevating whilst educating" role that Black grass roots artivists - poets have played + continue to play in social justice movements including the in-progress #BlackLivesMatter + #SayHerName movements.
Opens with a 15 min retrospective film looking at the role of griots in Africa and the tenacity of griot power - even in the face of deep traumas + violent oppression: the Middle Passage Holocaust (The Maafa); Global Enslavement; US Human Rights atrocities that persist right up to this very moment.
Includes an OPEN MIC POETRY CYPHER and concludes with a group poem - where poets will each write a few lines inspired by the panel discussion to share as a group poem to conclude the session.
Community Conversation Panelists: Thea Matthews (Millions March SF), Kin Folkz (SpectrumQueerMedia; Black Queer Lives Matter), Cat Brooks (ONYX Organizing and Anti Police Terror Project), Blackberri (Smithsonian Recordings Inductee);
Pochino Press is seeking a collection of short stories, essays, and poems, in any genre as well as illustration, photography, and visual art for a small zine publication to be released in late October 2015, in print and electronic versions.
Themes: Ancestors, Place, and Memory.
The beginning of the summer actually gets us thinking about the fall! Despite our rapid-fire culture, autumn shapes a different space of reflection. Many believe it’s a time when the ancestors walk among us and that the physical transformation of landscape in this season opens a revolving door to the past. Connecting to this season can mean a flood of remembrance. Whether it’s about a link to those who came before us, or revisiting the places we’ve been, or confronting experiences we have yet to process, autumn brings us a unique opportunity to return.
We welcome submissions of finished, unpublished works with these themes to be considered for a zine published and distributed in Oakland, CA and online. The deadline for submissions is Sept 17th, 2015, 10pm PST.
Writing, Illustration, Photography and Visual Art Guidelines:
Please first read Pochino Press’s mission statement and description. Consider if your style and own personal mission fit with what our small press is focused on.
Purchase a submission at this link. *
Early Bird Entry submission is $5 (submissions must be in by August 17th)
Regular submission is $10 (submissions received after August 17th but before or on September 17th, 10pm PST)
Submit finished, unpublished works only. Anything incomplete, in draft form, with multiple grammatical inconsistencies and typos, or that has appeared in another publication in print or online will not be considered for the final publication.
Submit works that you feel fit within the themes of this zine. There are no geographical restrictions; writers and artists can be from anywhere!
· Submissions should be 1,500 words or less!
· Send in a PDF or word doc only
· A BRIEF bio (60 words max)
· Languages: English and Spanish
Illustration, Photography and Visual Artists:
· Send 1-3 IMAGES TOTAL!
· Your submission should be in jpg or PDF format only. Please keep your files below 15MB.
· A BRIEF description/caption of your piece(s).
· Please have on hand a file of 300 dpi or higher. If your piece is chosen, we need this for the printed zine.
All submissions must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will not accept mailed submissions. Deadline is Sept 17th, 2015, 10pm PST.
Chosen writers and artists will receive a free print and electronic copy of the zine, a personalized promotional post on Pochino Press’s facebook, and access to wholesale price of this publication for resale. All authors and artists will retain their copyright.
Pochino Press offers a multi-media stage for change makers and culture creators. Our mission is to publish works that illuminate stories, which originate in the intersections where hybrid cultures not only meet, but form a new sensibility.
We are a small independent press based in Oakland, CA. Please visit our website for more information: www.pochinopress.com.
*Current Pochino Press authors are excluded from the submission fee.
“Life is very tough and fragile at the same time, it never backs down or surrenders, but will break open to reveal its beauty and ugliness. As a evening primrose that blooms in the flooding moonlight, just before being trampled upon underfoot by the four-legged frost of the night.” ― Anthony Liccione
Beast Crawl is Back
In its fourth year, the East Bay literary pub crawl is more ferocious than ever.
The East Bay literary landscape is sprawling, and local poet Paul Corman-Roberts likes to describe its diverse subcultures as tribes — spoken word, storytelling, and poetry are a few examples. Thanks to Corman-Roberts and his fellow organizers, all those tribes gather once a year to take part in Beast Crawl, a full day of free literary events spread throughout downtown Oakland. This year's festival will take place on July 11, from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m., and will constitute the largest gathering to date.
This is the event's fourth year, so many people may be familiar with its dense structure. There are three legs that each last one hour, with a bonus fourth leg that's actually an after-party at The Legionnaire Saloon (2272 Telegraph Ave.). During each of the first three legs, twelve readings happen simultaneously at various venues across the downtown area. The first leg begins at 5 p.m., with a half-hour break separating each.
Over the years, Beast Crawl has grown steadily, as has the local literary scene. That's allowed the festival to involve more spaces and curators each year. This time, there are 35 wide-ranging venues, including the Senegalese restaurant Bissap Baobab, the sexy Feelmore Adult Gallery, and the popular new venue, Starline Social Club.
In terms of events, the usual suspects will make an appearance, such as the reading and performance series BustingOut Storytelling, Tourettes without Regrets, and Quiet Lightning. But there will be newcomers, too. One of those is "Brown People Don't Read?" which will take place at AU Lounge (2430 Broadway) during the third leg. Curated by the Mills College-based writing group Sunday Stories, it will feature readers whose stories challenge the notion that narratives told by people of color aren't as central to the American literary canon as those by white authors. "Liminal at the Beast," also a new addition, will be a strong session of female writers curated by author Gina Goldblatt, the founder of LIMINAL, a feminist writing space in the Laurel district. That will take place during the second leg at Farley's East (33 Grand Ave.). Also during leg two, Pochino Press and Spectrum Queer Media will be hosting a new session called "Rise!" at Club BNB (2120 Broadway), in which a number of writers and performers will address the theme of proactive resistance.
From the start, the purpose of Beast Crawl has been to make Oakland a literary destination, said Corman-Roberts in a recent interview. And, for a number of reasons, that's slowly starting to happen. When the festival was born in 2012, there were nearly no independent bookstores downtown, and now there is a network of them that consistently open their spaces for readings — Octopus Literary Salon, Bergeron's Books, and Laurel being a few of the newer ones. Corman-Roberts said that gatherings like Beast Crawl are important for building the strong ties that form such a network. "It's not much different than when we were primitive people sitting around a campfire passing a talking stick," he said. "But it still really addresses this human need for connection ... it builds infrastructure for the community."
See the full Beast Crawl schedule at BeastCrawl.Weebly.com
Two Chances To See Me Read/Perform Beginning This Saturday July 11 & Again On July 14th....
The evening’s theme is proactive resistance. Oakland is going through immense change and many residents, both new and old, seek to engage in dialogues towards making our city a safe and welcoming one. Our readers explore how they define and redefine their own identities, informing broader conversations and community change.
Performers and Bios
Blackberri is a singer and activist whose recognition includes induction into the Smithsonian Institute Folkways Recordings and writing the theme song for the first National Third World Lesbian and Gay Conference.
Kin Folkz is the founder of Spectrum Queer Media and a lauded producer of effective social justice gatherings, screenings and community actions across the globe.
Mali is a multi-talented performer, earning accolades in arenas including singing, acting, and dancing. Among his accomplishments are co-creating the first theatre project addressing AIDS in the black community.
harold was awarded the San Francisco Foundation's James D. Phelan Award in poetry. He is writing his first manuscript Hunting Izotes, a poetry collection based on his family's immigrant experiences.
Jair is a writer, poet, spoken word artist, vocalist, activist, and arts curator living in Oakland. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, print publications, online, as well as anthologies.
Mona creates new platforms for lyrical creativity, music, visual art, and dance in all that she produces. Her most recent productions debuted in The National Queer Arts Festival.
Daniel D. Zarazua
Daniel is currently working on a book exploring Black and Latino communities in Taiwan. He draws upon a background that includes DJing, photography, and as a high school educator.
Monica earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the UNLV. Her stories have been published in The Collagist, The Blotter and Asia Literary Review. She lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
BEAST CRAWL is Uptown Oakland’s annual free literary festival featuring more than 200 writers in a single night, in dozens of events, spread out over three hours and thirty-five local galleries, bars, restaurants, cafés, performance spaces, and storefronts.
Each leg of The Beast lasts one hour, and offers a dozen different readings to chose from. There’s a half hour break between literary legs for socializing and relocating to a new venue before the next reading begins. We recommend choosing one reading per leg. You can even plan your route in advance.
Crawl maps, curators, readers, and venues are all searchable on our website: www.beastcrawl.weebly.com.
Printed crawl maps will be available on the day of the festival at all the Leg 1 events, and at the Beast Crawl Information Table in front of The Legionnaire Saloon.
Everyone is invited to the Leg 4 After Parties (marked with stars on the crawl map) starting at 9pm at The Legionnaire Saloon (drinks, dancing, 21+) and Telegraph Beer Garden (food, drinks, all ages).
Every city should have its own unique literary identity, and Beast Crawl is the beating literary heart of Oakland.
Beast Crawl Literary Festival
Saturday, July 11, 2015